Saturday, October 4, 2014

Restaurants in Cuenca, Ecuador - RESTORANTE VECCHIA MODENA - A "Don't Miss" Experience!!

Restaurante Salumeria Vecchia Modena

A Place to Enjoy Savory Wines and Italian Delicacies -

and it's right around the corner from us!


He will be reopening SOON!!!
The new address is:

Luis Cordero 5-65 y Honorato Vasquez

If you've been to our place to eat, you know that Bo and I like to cook delicious gourmet foods.  We also like to eat out, but not just anywhere.  Sometimes friends or acquaintances will recommend a place to us.  If we know they are excellent cooks, we'll trust their recommendation. Only then is it usually a hit!  Those of you who are "great" cooks know what I'm talkin' about. You just can't eat any ol' place.  It's gotta be GREAT!

There are a million dining places to explore in Cuenca.  Some have great atmospheres and not-so-good meals.  Some have delicious food, but the place may not be quite on a par with cleanliness.  I always check out the bathroom to see if it is an establishment that is paying attention to detail in the hygiene department.  Then there are the places I've experienced where the food, service, atmosphere, and hygiene department are all a big "zero."  Hey, you've experienced that too, haven't you?  It's a place that you would NEVER recommend nor return to.  

Because we don't eat every meal or even half our meals outside of home, for us to dine out is to look for the package experience.  Great food, attentive service, classy atmosphere, and friendly personable owner and staff.  Living in the heart of El Centro gives us daily opportunities to peek in various restaurants as we walk the street and continue to get acquainted with our neighborhood.  There are many popular restaurants that have closed in our almost two years here, yet new ones are always popping up and enticing us in.  We'll usually go in to talk to the owner or staff, check out the menu for the type of cuisine and PRICES, scope out the atmosphere and look for cleanliness, and then make our decision whether we'll sit and order now or return at a later date to see what kind of dining experience we end up with.

The other day, I dined with a friend at a local popular and often advertised restaurant in El Centro.  I was eager to experience a new place for almuerzo.  We entered a courtyard that was quaint and lovely, but the food prices high and portions surprisingly small.  We both left hungry and disappointed.  As for the service and customer care - I give it a big ZERO.  Because the owner knew it was our first time experience (I told her so she could impress us), she FINALLY returned to ask us "how was it."  In honesty, I complimented her that the food was good (between us - not great), but the portions extremely and surprisingly small.  Her response?  "Well, that's how we do it here," and she scurried away. Do ya think I'll go back there to eat?  NOT!

Bo had been telling me about a small new restaurant on Juan Jaramillo, right around the corner from our place where he had recently purchases some delicious cheeses and sausage, and where he also had lunch with friends.  Yesterday was my time to experience "Ristorante Salumeria Vecchia Modena" - and our few hours dining there and getting to know the Chef and Owner, Massimo, his wife Alicia, and a visiting chef friend of theirs, Luca, was fun and a "delicious" experience.  We had stopped in earlier for Bo to introduce me to Massimo, and we left with our purchase of three different Italian cheeses.  I kept looking around and was impressed by the colorful and classy decor, I enjoyed seeing his tables full of ex-pats who had already discovered this quaint place (he's only been open a few months), and I quickly made a silent decision that I would be back with Bo in the very near future to enjoy some good wine and authentic Italian food.  

We continued on our way to do errands and visit friends in El Centro.  Well, wouldn't you know - Bo left his umbrella at Massimo's - so we had to stop back in on the way home to pick it up.  It was now early evening, and Bo asked me if I'd like to sit and have a glass of wine and a bite to eat.  We sat and began to be pampered by Massimo as he poured two glasses of Chianti and served us delicious warm Tigelle bread baked fresh and filled with his creative concoction of Roma tomato, Italian cheese, sweet onion, and a "to die for" homemade sweet relish.  I could have eaten a dozen of these little treats, but I'm watching my girlish figure.  As Bo and I dined and sipped our fine dry Chianti, we learned all about how Massimo ended up in Cuenca, Ecuador to open his restaurant so he could share his savory Italian cuisine with those looking for an authentic Italian experience.

We went home happy and full.  Late in the evening Bo served me a bowl of his homemade White Bean Soup with savory chunks of real Italian Sausage (purchased earlier at Massimo's Restaurant).  It was so delicious I almost had a second bowl.  If you haven't been to Ristorante Vecchia Modena, you should!  You will enjoy meeting this kind and smiling Chef and have a wonderful dining experience.  Tell Chef Massimo that "Bo and Linda" sent you. You won't be disappointed.

Pictures Tell the Story 

The minute I entered Ristorante Vecchia Modena I loved it.  

The vibrant colors, lush thriving plants, and classy atmosphere and decor wooed me in.

Of course, the first thing I want to see is "what are they serving?" and "What are their prices?"

When it's a package deal I'm happy to pay - delicious food, friendly attentive service, classy atmosphere - and clean.

 Massimo knows good wine and was running a special this weekend on his Chianti.

 You can buy fine cheeses (Mozzarella, Parmigiano, Fontina, and Scamorza, Pecorino, Feta, Chevre, Cottage, and more), homemade Italian sausage, Salsa Picante (Relish), Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Italy, and when excellent cuts are available - Lomo Fino (Tenderloin).  Massimo purposes to sell only the finest!

 Ahhh, Bo's delicious White Bean & Sausage Soup.  I must say, it's the best sausage I've had in a looooooong time -  since we left the USA.

 There are many delectables to choose from at Massimo's restaurant - Like jars of Roasted Peppers with Eggplant.......

 ........homemade muffins......

.......or homemade butter crust apple pie.

 He uses fresh ingredients and everything is cooked in his well-stocked kitchen.  We had the privilege of going behind the curtain to see how he cooks some of his fabulous creations.

A Tigelle bread mold

 The Tigelle bread was freshly made, warm, soft, and filled with an amazing homemade relish spooned on top of sliced Roma Tomato, thinly sliced sweet onion, and an Aji Italian cheese.  
Bet you can't eat just one!!!!  Bo and I couldn't..... 
They were so amazingly delicious that Bo and I bought 30 of these little breads and all the inner ingredients to make these for a pot luck we would be attending the following evening.

Soon-to-be Roasted Red Peppers.

Ingredients are ready for a simmering homemade Italian sauce.

So, stop by and check out this tiny classy gem of a restaurant.  Introduce yourself to Chef Massimo 
and be ready for a memorable and delicious experience.  
Tell him that Bo and Linda's Blog post wooed you in!!!


  1. Linda could you post this review of the Salumeria with pictures on TripAdvisor? I tried to send this query to you earlier today but am not sure it "took"
    Margaret -- a future Cuencan

    1. Hi Margaret,
      Welcome to our BLOG! I hope you are enjoying reading about our adventure, and one day you will be here on your own personal journey and adventure. I will check out TripAdvisor and the reviews for this amazing restaurant.
      Keep on reading,

    2. Marvelous Blog! And your review and photos of the Salumeria are really so lovely that I hope you will share it on TripAdvisor which si followed by a lot of people.
      I will certainly keep following your excellent Blog.

  2. Belinda and I are always looking for a new dining experience in El Centro, Linda. Thank you for the review which you enhanced beautifully with your 'still life' photos of Massimo's establishment.
    Trip Advisor ratings are improved with recommendations. And it is easy to add a photo or two.

    1. HI Jeremiah,
      I hope you visit Massimo's establishment and enjoy it as much as we did. I'm sure you both will! It was nice seeing you both again, and I'm glad you are enjoying life in beautiful Cuenca.
      Blessings to you both,

    2. I have enjoyed your blog posts and hope to meet up with you and Bo at some point. My blog is at http://mike-in-ecuador.blogspot.ca or .com (whichever you prefer). I have only been here for 4.5 months but am enjoying my life very much. I live with my girlfriend (a Chonera) and her 18 year old daughter along with their four cats and dog. That makes 5 cats because I brought one with me. I am somewhat lucky as my rent is $0. But I pay all the expenses in the house (including feeding the cats and the dog). So, I guess it works out the same in the end. She only speaks Spanish so we have used Google translate a lot. My Spanish is slowly progressing. It sounds like yours is pretty good.

    3. Welcome to my BLOG, Mike! Glad you are enjoying reading about our continued adventure and life in Ecuador. How sweet that you have a Spanish girlfriend here. That will help you so much with learning this beautiful language. My Spanish is good, but not perfect! I am signing up for the Coffee Club Spanish that begins next week. It's the grammar and verb tenses that challenge me. I learned Spanish growing up in a bi-lingual family - and so I am re-learning my language after so many years away form it. Don't use it, you lose it! I'm thankful I can still communicate and we have many lovely Ecuadorian friends that are our family. I would love to meet you and your girlfriend sometime. We live in El Centro. Enjoy each day here and make them grand and Bienvenido!
      God Bless You,

  3. Strange, but the last one went through :) Ok, trying again and this time around, briefly :)

    1. Many thanks for the restaurant review :) Will visit the place promptly and buy CHEESE!! The cheese life has been SAD since Supermaxi stopped selling French cheeses :)

    2. Have never found the Greek yogurt place. It is Sucre and what? Could you please pay attention to it, when you are there next time and share the info?

    3. We saw you and Bo today, practically running up Cordero. Since I am limping and making faces from pain, catching you was not an option. But WHAT A GREAT THING THAT BO is running around without his walking stick!! Was it some IESS doctor that helped him? Could you please ship off an email message sharing that info?

    Also who was the IESS doctor whom you saw in ElCentro? And what exactly did you say when making your first appointment that you could visit that doctor in ElCentro? We have been paying for insurance, but have not had our first appointments yet. So, will follow your steps. SO GLAD to see Bo running around :)

    Cheers and the best of wishes

    1. Hi John and Jane,
      So glad you enjoyed the Restaurant Review - and that you will be visiting Massimo and buying cheese from him. You will enjoy him - he's a great guy! The address for the Greek Yogurt is Sucre 12-67 y Tarqui. For your first IESS appointment, just call their # and tell them you would like a doctor in El Centro. They will schedule you with a GP who will be the source for all your specialist appointments. Hope this helps. Next time you see us running around in El Centro, YELL!

  4. Linda, thanks and sorry to continue with questions. All clear about yogurt, less clarity about IESS
    1. You mentioned some doctor, whom you liked. Is he now your GP forever? Or do you get a new doctor for each appointment.
    2. THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT. Is my assumption correct that Bo has been cured of his back/leg problem? If so, who was the doctor and physical therapist. PLEASE, this is very important, because I too want to run, instead of limping. My email address is still above :)

    3. Will yell next time, if you do not look like you are in a hurry to get somewhere, and if you at the distance, which seems yellable :)

    Cheers, Jane

    1. Hi Jane,
      The doctor assigned to Bo at IESS in El Centro was Dr. Campo-Verde. We can request the same GP or the scheduler will assign someone else - depending on what is available and how long one wants to wait. When you go to your appointment, you will tell the GP what is ailing you, and from there be assigned to his recommended specialist(s). Bo did not get any medical TX for his back or legs. He has been receiving physical therapy from IESS for a shoulder injury. Sometimes he uses a walking stick when his knee is acting up. Just call the IESS and get registered with your GP, and then from there you will receive the quality medical care you need for any current ailments you are dealing with. I hope your limp is resolved quickly.

      I'll be listening for your yell!
      Best to you,

  5. Linda, thanks a million for taking the time to reply. Too bad that they did not cure Bo. I guess I imagined what I wanted to imagine :)

    Do you really think that you have been receiving quality medical care? Write another post, please!! Would be interesting and useful for many people.

    Muchas gracias y passe muy bien :)


Leave us your comments and I will respond with any questions you may have. Enjoy our Blog! Linda (y Bo)